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dear Montana State Legislators,

The Lower Yellowstone River is one of Eastern Montana’s most important resources. It offers exceptional recreational opportunities like fishing, boating, and camping. It supports local businesses. It provides critical irrigation water to Eastern Montana farms and ranches. And it supports the way of life that makes Eastern Montana special. 


The Lower Yellowstone also has tremendous untapped potential. By making careful investments in infrastructure and public access, we can help the Lower Yellowstone sustainably support more recreational users, attract visitors who will strengthen Eastern Montana’s economy, and support our communities by bolstering public health and making our outdoor way of life more accessible to everyone. 


The Lower Yellowstone River Coalition’s proposal to take historic steps to improve public access and recreational infrastructure is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help the Lower Yellowstone fulfill that potential. We must seize our chance to invest in the responsible development of this natural resource for the benefit of the individuals, families, communities, and businesses that call Eastern Montana home. 


The proposal focuses on a 175-mile stretch of the Lower Yellowstone between Hysham and the North Dakota border. Along this corridor, we have a tremendous opportunity to invest in improving public access by constructing facilities like boat ramps, parks, and hiking trails and important recreational infrastructure like bathrooms, portage trails, and campsites. By investing in these resources, we can elevate the experiences of all who enjoy the tremendous opportunities for recreation along the river. 


Elected officials, community leaders, business organizations,  and economic development experts across Eastern Montana have all reached the same conclusion: the Lower Yellowstone River Coalition’s plan to secure more public access opportunities and public facilities would bring sustainable long-term benefits for locals and attract more visitors to support local economies. The proposal would provide specific benefits to communities including enhancing community health and quality of life, propelling economic growth, protecting key wildlife habitat, and improving recreational access. 


The proposal for improvements along the Lower Yellowstone River Corridor has already received critical local and statewide support. Currently, there are nearly 30 community partners who support the plan, including all six counties along the river corridor, four city councils, four chambers of commerce and visitors’ bureaus, five local and regional economic development organizations, and eight outdoor, tourism, and non-profit groups. 


This broad local support from local citizens, political leaders, and community organizations gives the Lower Yellowstone River Coalition’s plan an incredible chance to move forward successfully. We're proud to support the project and add my name to the list of individuals, community groups, and organizations that have already come forward to support this critical work.  


Eastern Montana has a lot to offer, and this project aims to help the region fulfill its tremendous potential and make sure that rural communities will have a voice in the management of the outdoors that are so critical to our Montana way of life. Together, we can leave a legacy of high-quality recreational access and economic opportunity that will benefit Eastern Montana for generations. 


We strongly support the Lower Yellowstone River Coalition’s vision, and urge the Montana State Legislature to act on the proposal during the 2021 session.  


It’s time to prioritize our rural communities in eastern Montana and invest in the Lower Yellowstone River corridor.

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